Project aids Tioga County - Catholic Courier

Project aids Tioga County

An annual tradition involving volunteer college laborers has again yielded better living conditions for Tioga County residents.

On Saturday, March 27, a group of 10 students from Binghamton University’s Newman Catholic Community teamed up with regular volunteers from Tioga County Rural Ministry for a day of repair work.

“We had a wonderful crew,” said Sister of Mercy Phyllis McGuire, director of Tioga County Rural Ministry. TCRM spotlighted the students’ efforts by holding a luncheon for volunteers April 17 at the Goodrich Settlement Grange in Owego.

This year’s chief goal was to furnish wooden ramps for residents who have difficulty going up and down steps. Much of that work was accomplished on the Tioga Student Project day, and the year-round TCRM volunteers have since completed the initiative. All told, seven ramps have been constructed.

Young adults such as those from Binghamton have taken part in the Tioga Student Project each year since its inception in 1983. The project is coordinated with spring break from colleges located within relative proximity to Tioga County. Other typical tasks for student volunteers include electrical work, plumbing, painting, and repairs to windows, floors and cabinets.
Tioga Student Project has served all parts of Tioga County, in such communities as Owego, Apalachin, Barton, Nichols, Spencer and Waverly. Residents who are referred to TCRM consist mostly of low-income senior citizens and/or disabled people who can’t perform the labor themselves.
Sister McGuire noted that college participation was down a bit this year, and that she’d welcome any student group interested in joining the effort next spring. You may contact Sister McGuire at 607/687-3021 or

The project has benefitted greatly from the guidance of Merrill Johnson, who coordinates the effort and has been involved from its first year. Sister McGuire noted that Johnson really went above and beyond this spring: He slipped and fell during a day of follow-up duty April 5, breaking his leg – but still completed the work day before getting medical attention.
“He’s a marvelous man just a giving man, unbelievable,” Sister McGuire said.

– Mike Latona

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